SAN DIEGO – While he hasn’t been home since his historic no-hitter, Joe Musgrove has felt the support from San Diego in more ways than one.
“It’s been incredible,” Musgrove said. “It’s just been a nonstop flood of texts and calls and the tweets from people sharing their stories of where they were for that last out and just how special it was to them.
“After getting to see some of that, you kind of realize the impact that I had in San Diego.”
Musgrove, a 28-year-old native of El Cajon and a Grossmont High School graduate, threw 112 pitches during last Friday’s start against the Rangers, striking out 10 and surrendering no runs in the the first no-hitter in franchise history. It came in just his second start with the Padres since coming over in three-team deal back in January.
The impact of his no-no was felt almost immediately. Musgrove’s moment was splashed all over social media and cemented on the front page of Saturday’s San Diego Union-Tribune.
Support also has been felt at his family’s coffee shop in Alpine, Musgrove said.
“(They’re a) small drive-thru in a small town that gets a lot of local business,” he said, “so they’re not doing crazy numbers, but the last couple days have been some of the best days they’ve had in the last 20-plus years. It’s helping my family out a ton, too, and I’m really appreciative of that.”
Not to mention the new mural of him at his alma mater, courtesy of artists Paul Jimenez and Signe Ditona of Ground Floor Murals. They’re the same artists who last year painted a mural of Padres legend Tony Gwynn on the side of an MMA gym on University Avenue in City Heights.
The mural will be unveiled by the artists in a ceremony Wednesday with representatives from the Padres and Grossmont Unified High School District on hand.
“It’s been such an honor to be recognized in my own city but also at my high school,” he said. “It’s also just a cool thing to be able to tell my friends and tell my kids one day, like ‘Hey, come check this piece of artwork out for something that had never been done in the city of San Diego before.’”
This year marks Musgrove’s sixth MLB season after being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. He was traded to the Houston Astros in 2012, made it to the big league club in 2016 and was on the 2017 World Series team that beat the Dodgers in seven games.
Musgrove again was traded in 2018 to the Pirates in a swap that netted the Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole. He had an 18-26 record in three seasons there with a 4.23 ERA.
Now in San Diego, achieving a no-hitter was no easy feat. He says his body definitely was feeling it in the first few days afterwards. Part of it was “just a lack of sleep,” he said.
Sitting at 2-0 on the year and scheduled to take the hill Wednesday against his former club on the road in Pittsburgh, Musgrove said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure to pitch well.
“I really worked a lot on maintaining a level of calmness when I’m out there,” he said. “Like a controlled aggression where I have intensity and intent with everything I’m doing. I’m not putting anymore emphasis or intensity in the one pitch over another.
“I’m valuing every pitch as the same and realizing that execution is what it comes down to.”
And just when you thought you couldn’t love him more, the Grossmont High School baseball team recently revealed that Musgrove donates cleats to the players each year.
Musgrove said he donates them because he now has enough money to do it, and he also recalls how hard it was for him to afford a new pair of cleats as a prep player.
“I’ll never forget what it’s like to not have access to that equipment and the nicer things in life for baseball,” he said. “Trying to give back to them a little bit, give them something fresh for the season so they look good and feel good. I just like being around them and it’s really cool to me that guys are interested in what I have to say and what I’ve learned over my years in the game and it’s something that’s so simple.”